September 18, 2000
Hon Bill Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Clinton,
The recent release of Dr Wen Ho Lee, the Asian American scientist who was
charged with a fifty-nine-count indictment, held in solitary confinement for
nine months, plead guilty to a single count and was sent home with an
apology, literally begs comparison to Jonathan Pollard, the former civilian
Navy intelligence analyst who has been languishing for almost sixteen years
of a life sentence, many in solitary confinement.
Judge James A Parker of Federal District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico
said Dr Lee deserved an apology for harsh treatment that had "embarrassed
this entire nation". Mr. President, I appreciate that you were "quite
troubled" over Dr Lee's case when you stated "I don't think you can justify
the two positions that one day" someone is a "terrible risk to the nation and
the next day they're making a plea agreement for an offense far more modest
that what had been alleged".
What makes the Pollard case even more critical than Dr Lee's is that Pollard
was confined for almost a year in a prison facility for the criminally
insane, placed in solitary confinement, plead guilt to a single count of
passing classified documents to an ally, fully cooperated with the
government, when at time of sentencing, then-Secretary of State Caspar
Weinberger improperly intervened with the Judge by producing an 85-page
still-secret memorandum accusing Pollard of treason and of compromising
codes, even though Pollard didn't have clearance to access that information.
This most unusual political act of interference is credited with causing
Pollard to receive a life sentence without any chance for parole.
In Dr Lee's case, Judge Parker stated that he felt deeply troubled by the
government's consistent pattern of abusive action and even though Dr Lee
plead guilty to a serious felony, the Judge expressed his dismay that the
government had unleashed the full force of its powers so arrogantly.
After Pollard's life sentence was issued, he was returned to solitary
confinement for approximately seven years until he was eventually transferred
to a federal facility in Butner, North Carolina. To this very day,
unsubstantiated statements about Pollard's guilt and the damage he caused
surface every time it appears that his sentence might be commuted.
The appeals process fared Pollard no better as a panel of three Judges ruled
against him when he filed one day after the deadline. Appellate Justice
Stephen Williams called the case "a complete and gross miscarriage of
justice", yet his hands were tied and he could do nothing.
After almost sixteen years, Jonathan Pollard is still behind bars and the
simple truth is that he is serving a life sentence for a crime he did not
commit - he was never accused of treason and what he was accused of and the
one count he plead guilty to do not carry a life sentence.
Pollard was also used by people who had their own political motives. Aldrich
Ames, currently serving a life sentence for twenty years of espionage,
prepared Pollard's damage assessment, and who it is now known, perpetrated
many of the crimes that he accused Pollard of.
Most recently, Angelo Codevilla, a former Senate staffer with access to
classified intelligence, stated that the CIA and the FBI lied regarding
Pollard's role. Codevilla informed the Washington Post that "what he gave out
was satellite pictures. And in terms of satellite intelligence sources, his
impact was nonexistent".
For years, I and numerous other elected officials and respected leaders of
national, religious and civic organizations have pleaded with you to review
the Pollard case and to explain why, with so many examples of how the case
was egregiously mishandled, Pollard was treated to a different category of
President Clinton, you have promised to review the case, but if you continue
to delay, justice will continue to be delayed. Now that the Lee case is so
blatantly before us and now that you can clearly see how abuses by Federal
agencies can and do occur, I plead with you to act on the Pollard matter. I
appeal to you to immediately appoint respected Judges who have no bias in
this case, to review the entire file. It is my belief, that a fair and
unbiased review will reveal the truth. Once the truth is out in the open, I
know you will commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served.
Please act now, in the hope that the blatant mishandling of the Pollard
matter can finally be put to rest. I look forward to the day when the double
standard of justice applied to Jonathan Pollard can be erased and the many of
us who are concerned about its implications for Justice in our country can
Member of Assembly
The Wen Ho Lee page